Rafa Nadal and wife Xisca are reportedly expecting their first child together, sparking renewed speculation that the 22-time grand slam champion is on the verge of retirement.
Rumours have been swirling for months that this will be Nadal's final year on the ATP tour, with the Spanish champion hinting at retirement a number of times in recent months.
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And in a staggering twist on Wednesday, reports emerged that Nadal's wife Xisca Perello is pregnant.
According to Spanish magazine Hola and widely reported by other agencies, Nadal and Xisca are expecting their first child together.
Perello was reportedly seen wearing loose-fitting clothing when she attended the Champions League final between Liverpool and Real Madrid alongside her husband, as well as during the later rounds of the French Open - which Nadal won for a 14th time.
She was also reportedly sporting a noticeable baby bump as she soaked up the sun on Nadal's yacht in Mallorca this week.
I guessed it at RG & now I’m 100% certain she is. Such a beautiful couple. 💞 pic.twitter.com/xWMRLpEs8F
— Jessica Kleins (@JessKleins) June 15, 2022
The bombshell reports have fuelled speculation that Nadal is on the verge of quitting tennis, with the 36-year-old previously stating that he doesn't want to start a family until he retires.
“I would love to have children, boys, girls…I'm a person who loves kids and I'm a family guy," he said in 2017.
"But also I tell you that the reality is...the years keep passing.
“I would like to start to do all of this when my sporting life determines it.
"I think it's also above all about looking after the kids.
"I don't know if it [travelling throughout the year when you have children] is ideal."
Nadal and Xisca married in 2019 in a star-studded ceremony on the Spanish island of Mallorca.
She is the director of Nadal’s foundation and is often spotted supporting him at some of the biggest tournaments around the world.
The couple shared a beautiful moment after his French Open triumph, with Xisca embracing Nadal behind the scenes after he captured his 22nd grand slam title to extend his lead over great rivals Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal.
..Agreed- @TennisChannel you just have to show this photo of@RafaelNadal + his wife after @rolandgarros 14th win..#FrenchOpen #VamosRafa #Nadal #Goat #Champion #Love #dedication https://t.co/ZDW84m6bDf
— MickeyMaxi (@MickeyMaxi) June 5, 2022
Is Rafa Nadal on the verge of retirement?
Speaking after winning his 14th French Open title, Nadal once again hinted that retirement is looming but vowed to 'keep fighting'.
There were rumours swirling in the lead-up to the French Open final that it would be Nadal's last match, with his PR agency even releasing a statement to deny he had called a special press conference to announce his retirement.
But after thrashing Casper Ruud 6-3 6-3 6-0, Nadal vowed to push on for as long as he can.
“It’s amazing the things that are happening this year,” Nadal said during the trophy presentation.
“For me personally, it’s very difficult to describe the feelings that I have.
“It’s something that I never believed to be here at 36 - being competitive again, playing on the most important court of my career. It means [an awful] lot to me.
“I don’t know what will happen in the future, but I’m going to keep fighting.”
The 36-year-old has a chronic issue with his left foot and previously said there isn't much he can do about it.
“It’s obvious that with circumstances that I am playing, I can’t and I don’t want to keep going, so the mindset is very clear," he said.
"I’m going to keep working to try to find a solution and an improvement for what’s happening in the foot."
After receiving pain-killing injections to play at Roland Garros, Nadal said he won't do the same for Wimbledon.
"Wimbledon is a priority. If I am able to play with anti-inflammatories, yes [I will play], but with anaesthetic injections, no [I won’t play]," he told reporters.
"I don’t want to put myself in that position again. It’s not a philosophy I want to follow."
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